To you, OU & U may sound the same. They don’t.

They certainly do not for us Frenchies and if you don’t pronounce them properly, your sentence could mean something entirely different. Sometimes it could even be quite embarrassing and you wouldn’t that to happen, would not? Non non non.

Vous êtes prêt?

I know it’s hard. But I have a trick!

Let’s focus on the shape of the mouth for a minute. Your lips will look the same whether you’re saying OU or U.

The magic happens inside: it’s your tongue!

When you say OU, your tongue is floating, not touching anything.

When you say U, your tongue brings itself between your upper and lower teeth and it touches them. Like this. It’s very light of course don’t go biting yourself and bleeding on my behalf. (I show you how to do it in the video)

Now you’re ready for some OU vs U action!

(to hear the difference in pronunciation watch the video)

1- une poule / un pull – a hen / a sweater

J’ai des poules dans mon jardin. J’adore ton pull.

2- au-dessous / au-dessus – above / underneath

Les coups au-dessous de la ceinture sont interdits à la boxe. Les oiseaux volent au-dessus de nos têtes.

3- la boue / part participle of boire: bu – mud / past participle of to drink: drunk

Attention tes bottes sont couvertes de boue! Je dois faire pipi j’ai bu trop de thé.

4- un verrou / une verrue – a lock / a wart

J’ai deux verrous sur ma porte. La méchante sorcière a une grosse verrue sur le nez.

5- des poux / ça pue – lice / it stinks

C’est commun pour les enfants d’attraper des poux à l’école. Oh la la mais tu a mis trop de parfum, ça pue!

6-une boule / une bulle – a ball / a bubble

Je jette ma boule de pétanque. Je fais des bulles avec du savon et de l’eau.

7- And the naughty one for the end!

un cou / un cul – a neck / a… this thing also called un derrière because derrière means behind.

Now be careful. See how you could say J’ai mal au cou, my neck hurts, or… J’ai mal au cul.

Oops. Told you it could be embarrassing…

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